Agenda and minutes

Local Councils' Liaison Committee
Thursday, 26th March, 2015 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping

Contact: Mark Jenkins (Directorate of Governance)  Tel: 01992 564607 Email:


No. Item


Webcasting Introduction pdf icon PDF 25 KB

1.         This meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking.


2.         The Chairman will read the following announcement:


"I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the Internet and will be capable of repeated viewing and copies of the recording could be made available for those that request it.


If you are seated in the lower public seating area it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in the possibility that your image will become part of the broadcast.


This may infringe your human and data protection rights and if any member of the public wishes to avoid this they should move to the upper public gallery"


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The Chairman of Council reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on 20 November 2014 (previously circulated) and matters arising.

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That the minutes of the last Committee held on 20 November 2014 be agreed subject to an amendment under “Members Present,” “Representing Local Councils” – Parish Councillor J Eldridge (Epping Upland Parish Council) was recorded incorrectly as being a member of Buckhurst Hill Parish Council.




To consider the situation regarding Essex County Council Highway’s services. Councillor J Knapman will advise as County Councillor and Chair of the Local Highways Panel. (This item has been brought to the committee by the Local Councils).

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The Committee agreed for this item to be brought forward to allow County Councillor J Knapman to attend another meeting. The local councils had requested a discussion concerning Essex County Council’s Highways and the condition of the roads in the district. County Councillor J Knapman, Chair of the Local Highways Panel, was asked to advise the committee on the situation.


County Councillor J Knapman said that the district had some very poor roads, however progress had been made, for example 50% of potholes had been repaired and the number of potholes now stood at 700. The County Portfolio for Highways now concerned two Cabinet Members, Councillors R Bass (Highways and Maintenance) and E Johnson (Highways Maintenance and Small Scheme Delivery). The Council had changed its street lighting policy with streets being illuminated from 1.00a.m. to 5.00a.m.


The representative of Matching and Sheering Parish Councils complained of pot holes on a main cycle route in his area and vehicles suffering puncture tyres because of poor roads. Despite being reported a year ago, no action has been taken. County Councillor J Knapman advised that he did not know about this problem but requested than an email be sent to him with details, so he could take action.


The Ongar Town Council representative reported poor markings on pedestrian crossings. It was advised that crossings were not re-painted until they had deteriorated by 75%. County Councillor J Knapman went onto explain that because of under spending, the Local Highways Panel were losing money to other projects. Work was difficult to complete as Essex County Council did not have enough designers for road schemes, he advised that he would speak to the Divisional Member for assistance with this.




That the update regarding Highways be noted.


Local Highways Panel

To receive an update from the Chair of the Local Highways Panel. Local Councils are also concerned regarding the lack of Parish/Town Councils representation on this Panel, which is not the case with other districts.

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The Committee agreed for this item to be brought forward to allow for Councillor J Knapman to attend another meeting. This item of business was a standing item for the Committee, however the local councils were concerned about a lack of Parish/Town council representations on the Panel. The Chairman of the Local Highways Panel, County Councillor J Knapman, advised that the Committee consisted of 14 members, enhancing this number would be difficult to manage. He reminded members that a number of Local Highways Panel councillors were also on parish/town councils. He added that every parish/town Councillor knew the contact details of their District and County ward members, any issues around highways could be forwarded to the Panel via this route. It was rare for local council’s schemes were rejected. The Committee suggested the Panel could be webcast which the Panel Chairman said could be done.




That the update on the Local Highways Panel be noted.


Invitation to Councillor Roger Hirst, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Libraries, Communities and Planning

County Councillor Roger Hirst has kindly agreed to attend this committee meeting to discuss the relocation of libraries within the district.

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The Chairman welcomed to the Committee, Councillor K Twitchen, a Deputy Portfolio Holder for Customer Services, Libraries, Planning and the Environment and Ms S Looney, Essex County Council Customer Services Director, to speak on the subject of library services. An invitation had been extended to the County Portfolio Holder for Customer Services Libraries, Planning and the Environment, Councillor R Hirst to speak on this subject but it was advised that he had been seriously injured in a riding accident and was unable to attend, therefore Councillor K Twitchen had kindly agreed to attend in his place.


County Councillor K Twitchen stated that there were no proposals to close any public libraries in Essex, although there would be changes made to the service. Initiatives in library use was needed, they were not just repository for books, they should be a greater resource to the population.


Epping Forest District had 8 public libraries with 21,000 members and 400,000 attendances. County Councillor K Twitchen went on to outline the situation concerning each of the 8 libraries.


(a)          Buckhurst Hill Library – the Parish Council office was located in the library, with a vacant space at the back of the property for commercial letting or community use. A Police Community Support Officer was based at the library as a point of access to the public. The representative for Buckhurst Hill Parish Council advised that they had two meetings and favoured a community use for the space.


(b)          Chigwell Library – The Committee was advised that Chigwell Parish Council was happy to co-locate with the library and discussions were taking place.


(c)          Debden Library – This library was the smallest in the district in terms of membership, it was located at Epping College. A suggestion had been made that the library could be re-located near to the road side of the college where it would be more visible to pedestrians, however, the new venue would be smaller. It was noted that a post office in Debden, near a bus terminus, was being vacated the District Council was the freeholder and the building could be converted to a library.


(d)          Epping Library – This library had 2,600 members and shared a space with a Registrar and a children’s centre. Local members advised they were happy with its current location.


(e)          North Weald Library – The Parish Council was located at the library, there were no firm plans for expansion. Currently children’s groups were using the library. However new signage was needed as a sign had been stolen.


(f)            Chipping Ongar Library – this was a purpose built library, there was not enough room for any other residence.


(g)          Waltham Abbey Library – A children’s centre shared their space.


(h)          Loughton Library – The National Jazz Archive was currently held there, a community orchard was being created plus a trade school and creative sewing classes were in operation there. It was suggested that the Citizens Advice Bureau could be located here.


Members were pleased with the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Enfield Council Updates on North East Enfield Area Action Plan and Northern Gateway Access Package (NGAP) pdf icon PDF 283 KB

To receive a presentation from Ismail Mulla, Principal Planning Officer, Regeneration and Environment, London Borough of Enfield, regarding the Northern Gateway Access Road (NGAR).

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The Committee received a presentation from two officers of Enfield Borough Council’s Regeneration and Environment Department, Mr I Mulla, Principal Planning Officer and Mr D Taylor, Head of Traffic and Transportation, regarding updates on the North East Enfield Area Action Plan (NEEAAP) and Northern Gateway Access Package (NGAP).


As part of their AAP work Enfield Borough Council were considering transport accessibility in the area. This had included undertaking modelling work to establish the potential benefits of a Northern Gateway Access Package for improving local accessibility. The area covered by the AAP included some deprived wards and the plan sought to recognise their needs as well as improving transport networks. So far, there had been a statutory consultation in June-July 2014 with proposed examination and adoption of the plan in April and November 2015. It was hoped that the regeneration of this part of North London would favour public transport, cycle routes and enhance employment opportunities.


The Committee had concerns about the plans being formed, particularly the inclusion of a reference  to construction of a new link route to the M25 as part of NGAP, there would be no benefits for Epping district and there was anxiety regarding the displacement of heavy transport from Enfield into the area along roads which in some cases were poorly maintained and already congested. The representative from Loughton Town Council was concerned at the displacement of traffic from the M25 with representatives from Waltham Abbey Town Council saying that their views made in response to the consultation draft AAP had been largely ignored. The Enfield officers recognised the concerns expressed from Loughton and Waltham Abbey Town Council, however they advised at present no firm decision had been taken as to whether to construct the link road and that until further detailed traffic modelling work had been undertaken there was limited knowledge was available regarding the eventual impact on District Council roads.




That the presentation from Enfield Borough Council regarding progress on the North East Enfield Area Action Plan and the Northern Gateway Access Package be noted.


North Essex Parking Partnership

To consider the situation regarding the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP), particularly problems experienced with enforcement and consultation. Councillor G Waller, Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder will be present to discuss.

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An invite to the Committee had been extended to District Councillor G Waller, Portfolio Holder for Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder to discuss the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP).


Councillor G Waller began by acknowledging the parking difficulties within the district, particularly around the 8 London Underground stations, a Portfolio Holder Advisory Group had been established to support parking policy. It was important for the Council to remain as members of NEPP as they could influence decisions. The NEPP had only two officers subsequently it could take over a year for a new scheme to be started. He was pressing for more parking enforcement, a new manager had been appointed to the NEPP in January 2015  to cover West Essex and meetings had been taking place more regularly than before. The Councillor said that local councils were relied upon to advise over parking. The NEPP were making a presentation at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 27 April 2015. Questions were welcomed for the NEPP representatives.


The representative from Loughton Town Council asked why enforcement did not take place after 6.00p.m. Councillor G Waller replied that some enforcement took place but the costs were fairly prohibitive.


The Portfolio Holder advised the Committee that the NEPP staffing problem was made worse by the lunch break arrangements whereby enforcement officer did not currently use facilities at the District Council offices or Epping town itself. Councillor A Watts asked about difficulties he had experienced in trying to obtain a season parking ticket for Epping Forest car park. The Assistant Director Technical Services explained that season tickets were mainly allocated to local businesses, however this policy could be reviewed.




That the update on the North Essex Parking Partnership be noted.


Local Plan Update

To receive an oral report from the Planning Policy Manager.

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The Planning Policy Manager updated the committee on progress made with the Local Plan.


The Local Plan timetable had slipped. Receipt of the consultant’s report updating the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) had been delayed because new household projections had been published by the Government, that the consultants needed to take account of. A draft final report was expected by the end of April 2015. The following was noted:


(a)  The local councils would receive a presentation of the Green Belt Review Phase 1 in June 2015 at a special meeting of this committee;


(b)  The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) Stage 1 was nearing completion;


(c)  Fulfilling the statutory Duty to Co-operate was very important in ensuring production of a robust Local Plan that would be found sound at examination; and


(d)  Seven local councils had applied to establish Neighbourhood Planning Areas. Of these five had been approved and one, Moreton Bobbingworth and the Lavers, had drafted a neighbourhood plan upon which they would soon be consulting. It was noted that the revised Neighbourhood Planning regulations which came into force on 9 February 2015 meant that future decisions on neighbourhood planning area designations should be completed within 8 weeks.


Officers would be writing to all of the local councils concerning Neighbourhood Planning outlining where advice, assistance and funding could be obtained.




That the Local Plan Update be noted.


Iplan User Group Update

To receive an oral report from the Director of Neighbourhoods.

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The Director of Neighbourhoods advised the committee that progress was being made regarding the scanning of paper files. A Senior Technical Officer Electronic Information and a Technical Officer Applications Systems had been appointed. The Committee were informed that officers could visit local councils to assist their work on presenting planning applications electronically. Members acknowledged that the co-operation was working well.




That the Iplan User Group Update be noted.


Minority Reference at Area Planning Sub-Committees

To receive an oral report from the Assistant Director Governance and Performance Management (Item raised by Local Councils).

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The Committee received an oral report from the Assistant Director (Performance Management) regarding Minority References made at Area Planning Sub-Committees, this item had been requested by local councils.


This rule, within the District Council’s Constitution, allowed for at least 4 Members of an Area Planning Sub-Committee to stand and refer an item of the agenda to the parent committee, District Development Control Committee (DDCC). It was advised that the current Constitution review being undertaken by the Constitution and Member Services Scrutiny Panel, had recommended that this process must occur after a vote was taken. It was felt that when used at the committee meeting, the Chairman should explain this process to the public in attendance, it was also suggested that a brief paragraph could be added to the “Your Voice, Your Choice” booklets about the process.




That the report regarding Minority References at Area Planning Sub-Committees be noted.


Proposal for additional meeting of the committee on 15 June 2015

(District Council) As part of the development of the new Local Plan for the Epping Forest District, the Council is currently preparing a Green Belt Review in accordance with a process prescribed by the National Planning Policy Framework. Local councils will contribute to this process and it is felt that this might initially be best achieved through the auspices of the Liaison Committee.


Unfortunately, the timescale for the review does not fit with the programme of meetings of the Committee this year. It is therefore proposed that an additional meeting of the Committee be held on Monday 15 June 2015 to consider this matter.



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The Director of Neighbourhoods advised the Committee that an additional meeting should be factored in specifically to discuss the Green Belt Review of the new Local Plan. It was proposed that the meeting would be held on Monday 15 June 2015 at 7.30p.m.




That an additional meeting of the Local Council’s Liaison Committee be scheduled for Monday 15 June 2015 at 7.30p.m.



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The Vice-Chairman reminded those present that this was the last Local Council’s Liaison Committee of the current Council year, she thanked the Chairman of Council, Councillor T Boyce, for his work over this period. The Chairman returned the thanks and extended his gratitude to the Committee for its work over the past year.


Dates of Future Meetings

This is the last committee meeting of the current Council year, the next scheduled meeting will be on Monday 6 July 2015 at 7.30p.m. in the Council Chamber and then on:


·         Monday 16 November


·         Monday 21 March 2016

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As indicated before, there would be an extra-ordinary meeting of the Committee held on Monday 15 June 2015 with the next scheduled meeting being on Monday 6 July 2015 at 7.30p.m. in the Council Chamber.